So I had a really awful day today. Awful in the sense that a couple years ago, if today had happened, I don't think I would have been able to handle it. I would have cried the entire way home and then fallen to pieces and been a complete jerk to the people around me for the rest of the day. Instead, I was a complete jerk BEFORE I got home. So it's not really progress... but there were no tears.
Until I went to church. After talking to a really amazing friend who always says exactly the perfect thing... pretty sure her prayers are why most of what I realized tonight was that I needed to take my own advice that I had just given her. Trust God and realize that I'm suffering for a reason. Yeah. It took 45 minutes for that sink in.
For some reason, I've really been struggling to serve God joyfully in the present. I envision this in any future plans I have for my life, but have completely ignored the present. I somehow have managed to convince myself that the problem is my current situation in life, rather than what I am doing. I guess it's easier that way. to blame my faults on my surroundings. But it's not very Christian.
So, as I'm sitting in adoration, asking Him to help me to love Him more, I started to lose focus. I started complaining to Him about my day... about all the little things that had bothered me today... and this weekend... and this year. Then I realized that I had lost focus. But I hadn't. That was the focus. Because the way to love Christ more is to love His people more. The way to grow in charity is to practice charity (funny thing... I read that at least three times today...)
All day, I was a grouchy teacher, and I justified it to myself since I was having a bad day. I took every blessing God gave me today and was annoyed that it wasn't what I wanted. Because somehow, I've decided that I know better than God how to make Him happy. I've decided that staying home and reading my bible and theology books and never leaving my house (or my church) would be the best way to please Him. Rather than, you know, actually serving Him. John 21... or even as basic as the Golden rule. I've been ignoring those. I've been pretending that my faith is just for me. Rather than meant to be used.
All year, I've avoided praying about work. I've prayed for people at work, students, teachers, etc, but I've avoided talking to God about any of the bigger issues. I've sectioned off my life into several neat little boxes. One for work, one for home, one for God. And then I've been very unhappy that I can't spend all my time in the God box. I'd rather be in a church than pretty much anywhere else. It's not that preferring church is the real problem. It's that I'm not letting God use me or speak to me in the rest of my life. It's not just that I've kept the other boxes out of the God box, I've managed to not let God into the other boxes.
The little things that annoy me... comments, glances, those are gifts that I can offer back to Him by my actions and my response. And I've been throwing those gifts away. Ungratefully demanding what I selfishly want instead of what I actually need. So instead, I need to work on my attitude, on my receptivity to these gifts. I need to learn to praise God for these little difficulties. Because they really are exactly the gifts I need right now. But only if I accept them. That the hardest part. The asking for gifts is easy- accepting joyfully what we've been given because it looks different than what we imagined, that part is tough. I need to remember that He is the Giver of Good. By turning something that doesn't appear to be a good gift into a gift by receiving it, we cooperate in that giving. Taking away from Satan what he has stolen and returning to God what is His.